Zack Snyder’s Justice League

It’s not often a director can return to previously filmed material. Richard Donner is a rare example, returning a quarter of a century later to finally release his version of ‘Superman 2’. Director Zack Snyder didn’t have to wait as long, presenting his own vision of 2017’s DC superhero ensemble ‘Justice League’. Due to personal issues, he dropped out of the film during production, leaving it to others to create a jumbled patchwork movie which satisfied no one. Due to fan pressure and a desire to complete his vision, Snyder restored the already filmed scenes into an epic story infinitely superior to what we initially saw.

After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) wants to assemble a mighty hero team. Among his recruits are Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Their formation proves timely when evil alien being Steppenwolf enters the picture. Wanting to assemble three magical boxes in order to destroy Earth, Steppenwolf quickly discovers how powerful his foes are as the new superhero team prove their ways in delivering justice is in a league of its own.

There might be some who may wonder if it’s worth seeing ‘Justice League’ again. The simple answer is yes as Zack Snyder has created an almost completely different movie. Whilst the story’s basic structure is the same, Snyder’s take is more focussed on the characters than constant action. Given its enormous four hour run-time, there’s plenty of room to fully understand character’s motivations. Despite its elongated length, ‘Justice League’ rarely drags, with the excitement and colour still evident. It has the added bonus of having a screenplay allowed to ‘breathe’, making the lead up to its conclusion more satisfying.

Although he had already shot the film before his departure, Snyder also re-shot several scenes. Most of these can be seen in the end, expanding potential for sequels and allowing the actors to give their roles a proper send-off. A few, like Affleck, have already announced they won’t be returning so ‘Justice League’ gives them a solid showcase. The cinematography and action sequences are first-rate as is the attention to detail and high production values which are clearly on display.

A few potential viewers may baulk at its excessive length, but ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ is worth the investment. Miles ahead of the 2017 version, it’s the type of movie fans of these DC characters have wanted. With Snyder himself claiming this is the end of his involvement in these series of movies, his heroic grand finale goes out in fine style proving returning to previously trodden ground can bring rewards.

Rating out of 10: 8


The Call of the Wild

Based on Jack London’s 1903 adventure novel, ‘The Call of the Wild’ has been adapted numerous times. From the sublime with Clark Gable and Charlton Heston appearing in versions, to the ridiculous with a Charlie Brown/Snoopy cartoon adaptation and also appeared in Japanese anime comics. Such has been the story’s enduring appeal. The latest remake doesn’t change the formula too much with the wintry chills of the snowy wilds still strong.

A large St Bernard dog, Buck, lives with his master in comfort. A domesticated pet, his idyll is shattered when events drag him away from his cosy existence. Forced to survive a harsh landscape and harsher people, he eventually meets skilled hunter John (Harrison Ford). Enjoying a new life of freedom which takes him to the wilds of Alaska, Buck learns to be true to himself while having adventures he never thought possible.

A mix of CGI and live-action, ‘The Call of the Wild’ maintains the original tale’s sense of wonder. Although aimed at a younger audience, it creates an enchanting atmosphere to which all could relate. The themes of being true to yourself are deftly interwoven into the narrative so the film can be enjoyed on another level. Much has been made of using CGI animals instead of real ones. Although occasionally distracting, this tactic aids in showing how Buck and his canine friends feel about the humans surrounding them. The ‘real’ cast such as Ford do a fine job in interacting with their computerised companions, injecting genuine pathos.

‘The Call of the Wild’ had an enormous budget and it shows. The scenic landscapes in which Buck and company travel are spectacular. Whilst much of it would have been CGI enhanced, the natural scenery looks even more dazzling due to the strong cinematography. The film moves at a good pace, never out-staying its welcome. It may seem old fashioned in terms of story-telling but that’s appropriate for this type of movie. It does justice to London’s words with its spirit of always seeking adventure ever present.

Despite using a multitude of modern technical tricks to craft its tale, ‘The Call of the Wild’ succeeds in having an old-world feel. It manages to easily transport you to another time as the dangers of humanity and wilderness converge. It proves once again a story can endure for decades if written well with this adaption one of the best made yet.

Rating out of 10: 7